strawberry rhubarb and peach crumble

strawberry rhubarb and peach crumble

Or, how I am becoming my mother.

Exhibit a) Going to the grocery store so frequently I’m on a first name basis with most of the checkers.

Exhibit b) Frequent employment of illogical logic to the ultimate frustration of my mate.

Exhibit c) Halving (at least) the sugar content of every recipe.

It used to drive me bonkers that my mom would cut the sugar in our cookies, and add back in things like wheat germ and brewers yeast. I suppose I should be thankful that she at least had the sense not to replace the semi-sweet morsels with the abomination that is the carob chip. The sweet tooth that was so deprived as a child such that I would apply sugar to my unsweetened cereal like lake-effect snow in Buffalo has, probably as a result of my mother’s efforts, mellowed and refined. And as a result, I find most baked goods to be (gulp) Too Sweet.

Enter Crumble.

I make a lot of fruit-based desserts, and have been a crisp and cobbler devotee for some years, but I’d never managed a proper crumble until I stumbled upon this recipe on smittenkitchen.com. A crumble where the topping is key – because it is, right? One of the most frustrating aspects of crumble is not having enough of the topping to go with the fruit. Well, this recipe cracks that nut but good. I halved the amount of sugar in both the topping and the filling, resulting in a tender, lemony shortbread-like topping and a filling in which you could still make out the distinct flavors of all three fruits (in this case strawberry, rhubarb and a couple overripe peaches).

This recipe is endlessly adaptable to any fruit – so far I’ve managed apple, blackberry/rhubarb and cherry/rhubarb. Adjust the amount of sugar and add flavorings to suit whatever filling you’ve got.

Fruit Crumble

Topping:

1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar aka Sugar in the Raw)
Zest of one lemon
1/4 pound (one stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

Your fruit or fruit blend of choice, enough to fill a 9″ deep-dish pie plate leaving about 1/4″ at the top to hold the topping
Juice of one lemon (how ’bout the one you just zested?!)
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
2-3 tablespoons cornstarch (use more for juicy berries, less for dryer apples)
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375.

Whisk together all dry topping ingredients in a bowl. Pour in melted butter and mix until uneven clumps form, but all the flour mixture is incorporated. Chill in refrigerator until filling is ready.

Toss fruit, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in your pie plate. At this time, add any additional flavorings you’d like (cinnamon if your using apple, for example).

Remove topping from the fridge and spread a thick layer evenly over the top of the fruit. I’ve had to loosen the topping by chunking it up with a fork as the butter will harden. Just hack at it until you get a nice mix of large and small clumps and pour it on.

Put your pie plate on a baking sheet to catch molten berry juice, and then place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling madly and topping is golden brown in spots (it won’t be fully or evenly browned).

Serve with ice cream, plain greek yogurt, half & half, whipped cream or stirred custard (the custard is particularly good with apple).

Advertisements